Bio / About


Samuel J. Redman, Ph.D. is a historian who studies U.S. social, cultural, and intellectual history. "Sam" teaches at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and raised in Red Wing, Minnesota. 

Redman was educated in history, anthropology, and Native American studies at the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Berkeley. A former museum professional, he previously worked at the Science Museum of Minnesota, Field Museum of Natural History, and History Colorado. While in Colorado, Redman played a small role in the largest repatriation of ancestral remains in U.S. history to that point. 

Redman is best known for his work on the history of museums, especially the history of anthropology and archaeology. His work has been featured in documentary films, recent essays, and in several major media outlets. He is also an accomplished oral historian, having organized major oral history projects at Berkeley and UMass. His oral history interviews have been cited in many theses as well as in scholarly and popular publications. 

Redman is the author of three books. Bone Rooms: From Scientific Racism to Human Prehistory in Museums (Harvard University Press, 2016, paperback edition 2022), Prophets and Ghosts: The Story of Salvage Anthropology (Harvard University Press, 2021), and The Museum: A Short History of Crisis and Resilience (NYU Press 2022, paperback edition 2024). He is presently researching and writing a book on the history of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. 

As a teacher, Redman's recent courses and seminars have included U.S. History since 1876, U.S. History Between the World Wars, The Craft of History, Museums and Historic Sites Interpretation, Theory and Method of Oral History, and The Professional Lives of Historians. He frequently consults with cultural institutions and other organizations on matters related to museum history, ethics, and repatriation. 

In addition to learning about history, Redman enjoys hiking, fishing, and generally being outside. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts and Brooklyn, New York. His loyal dog, Janet the Basset Hound, is pictured below.